ITALY: ETERNAL CITY ROME
Talking about Italy, not to mention Rome, this colossus of world scale is absolutely impossible! Especially if I saw him, heard, felt personally. And it is almost as impossible to tell about it: so many clever words and transcendental delights are already devoted to this truly extraordinary city. It’s difficult for an ordinary mortal to “explain” a city that, as early as 248, celebrated its 1,000th anniversary magnificently! And by that time, he had already been the capital for more than 500 years: first Italy, and after the destruction of Carthage and the conquest of Greece, the Middle East, Gaul, England and Turkey, the mighty Roman Empire. In her heyday, she managed to seize the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea – the only case in world history! And the “head” of all imperial endeavors, conquests and accomplishments was magnificent Rome.
The capital of the world, the Gates of the Apostles, the Sacred, Eternal City is all about it.
And it is also a city on 7 hills (they now believe that there are more of them), which began to grow from the central Palatina. It was there that the first houses of the nobility and the palaces of the emperors appeared. Next to them was the legendary Colosseum.
There are no equal in the world: it is the most ancient amphitheater, “lived” to this day. The monumental building of 50 thousand spectators, erected before our era, is striking even now, after severe damage by an earthquake of the 14th century. Then the townspeople began to dismantle the partially destroyed walls to repair houses, but the Roman Catholic Church was concerned about the salvation of the Colosseum; its merit in preserving for humanity one of the seven New Wonders of the World is undeniable.
Built for demanding “bread and circuses” of the Romans, who for centuries impassively observed cruel battles of gladiators, hounding animals and other bloody amusements, the Colosseum still radiates a formidable energy! But what impressed me most was the realization that Caesar, Brutus, and Cleopatra had once trod on his cobblestone pavement! It worked so that I stopped and photographed these 2000 year old stones …
The invention of concrete allowed the Romans to build truly immortal roads and aqueducts – monuments that still serve people. If even now, while laying roads, dig deep trenches and fill them with layers of stone and concrete on a solid foundation, as for a house, they probably will not come down with the snow …
No less significant place in Rome – the Pantheon. The main pagan “temple of all gods”, built before our era and restored in the 2nd century by the emperor Hadrian, has been miraculously preserved to this day, along with its mysteries.
Massive 12-meter columns at the entrance, made of Egyptian marble, it is not clear how they were delivered to Rome; bronze entrance doors have incredible dimensions for that time: width – more than 7 meters, height – more than 12; the diameter of the dome, equal to the height of the building and 43 meters, still remains the largest in world architecture. And the Temple has no windows and looks at the world with the only “eye of the Pantheon”: a hole in the dome lights it, refreshing at the same time in the rain.
Inside, the Pantheon impresses with its beauty and immensity of size, but does not “crush” thanks to its ideal proportions. Now it is the Christian church of Santa Maria ad Martires with Sunday worship services, the burial place of prominent citizens of Rome (including Raphael himself) and a magnificent museum.
Well, the forums of Rome – its most distinctive feature. At first he was alone: this was the name of the main square of the city, where all the most important things for his life took place, from market trade to senate meetings. Now they call him Roman, because then every self-respecting emperor built his own forum. And now, heading from the Colosseum to the Capitol, you can see the whole street of forums.
In the middle of the 1st century, Caesar bought (with the help of Cicero) the land from the city and, with his forum, expanded the boundaries of the existing one; the remains of the Temple of Venus erected there preserved to this day.
He continued his forum another emperor, Augustus. Being a creator rather than a warrior, he still easily defeated the conspirators who killed Caesar. His forum – thanks to God Mars for this victory.
Also in honor of victory in the war, but already with the Jews, the most recalcitrant vassals of Rome, Vespasian built his forum, decorating it with the Temple of Peace. He began to build another forum, which was already finished by another emperor, which is why he is called the Nerva forum.
And the last imperial forum – Trajan, one of the most successful rulers of Rome, was built in the heyday of the empire, in the 2nd century. To continue the series of existing forums, we even had to tear down a part of Capitol Hill.
The terrace with benches on the road to Capitol Hill is a wonderfully convenient place to admire the ancient forums and … wait for the continuation of the tour.